Start Your Own Profitable Car Wash

Teenagers always need money. Whether it’s the latest gadget, new clothes or funding a night out with friends, money is important. Instead of begging from your parents, why not start a car wash service to make money of your own? Learning how to earn money at an early age will benefit you for the rest of your life.

So, what do you need to start this new business? The first thing is a suitable location. The choice of where you’ll wash cars depends on a number of factors:

• The right location so you attract lots of passing traffic. Getting a car wash is often a spur of the moment decision.

• Once you’ve chosen a location, you need to make sure you’re allowed to use that space.

• Will you need a permit from your county clerk?

• Do you need to pay to use the space?

• It needs to have the right facilities.

• The main factor is whether you have access to water.

How many people are going to work in your car wash? The more the better, because it means you can wash more cars at the same time, or finish a car more quickly.

Age is no barrier. Naturally someone has to be in charge who is mature enough to manage the business side of things. But the people actually washing the cars can be as young as 12 or 13. If you plan to start a full-fledged business, you’ll have to confirm the minimum age in your region since there may be laws governing the age requirement. The county clerk would be a good place to check this information.

If you just want to hold an occasional car wash, the rules will be much more relaxed and you’ll likely be able to just set up shop and close up at the end of the day. It all depends on what your goals are.

The most economical way to run a car wash is for a group of friends to do it together. Then whatever net profit is made can be shared equally and some of it invested back into the business on supplies. Seek advice from a parent or teaching regarding keeping your financial records so everything is done legally. This is a low budget business so making a profit is easy if you get enough business. But you still want to do it right.

Let’s assume that you now have a great location. Maybe a closed down service station near the intersection of two main roads. You obtain the necessary permission and have checked that there are taps available for water. The next step is to decide exactly what services you will provide and the equipment you need.

Water is the logical first necessity. You need hoses to connect to the taps. They need to be a decent length so you can work on more than one car at a time if need be. Then you need some buckets, sponges and rags to wash and dry the cars, and some window washing tools like a long handled squeegee. You also need a decent soap to use for cleaning the cars.

Your plan should be to do exterior washes only for now and see how well the business goes. If successful, you can look at doing interior cleaning as well. If your team doesn’t have the money to buy the necessities, either borrow from family or friends, or see if someone can loan you the money until you earn enough to pay them back.

Once you have the key ingredients, it’s time to do some marketing. Make up several large signs to attract passing cars. Run an ad in the local paper, put notices up in shop windows and on community bulletin boards, email everyone you and your friends know and offer them a special deal to get the ball rolling, put ads in the school newsletter and on online forums, and ask your family and friends to tell everyone they know. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Use it to the best of your ability.

Apart from everything else, you and your team should practice so you can clean cars efficiently and quickly while meeting a high standard. Offer to do your parents’ cars so you can practice teamwork. Decide who is better at washing, using the hoses and drying off. Divide the work equally and time yourselves so you know how long an average car takes to wash.

A car wash can be a fun and rewarding way to learn new skills such as teamwork, business management, and advertising. It can also teach you a good work ethic for when you start applying for other jobs in the future. And most importantly, it can help you earn the money you want right away!

Growing Herbs for Fun and Profit

February 3, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Growing Herbs for Fun and Profit 

Growing herbs is a lucrative business idea for teenagers. Due to the growing demand for freshly grown herbs, teens have the opportunity to make a decent income from their efforts.

Before you delve into your herb growing business, read up on the different types of herbs on the market and their ideal growing conditions. There are many books available on the subject that will give you the knowledge you need to succeed, so browse your local bookstore or library for ones that will help you the most in your quest.

The last thing you want to do when growing herbs is to choose ones that don’t grow well in certain kinds of soil or certain lighting conditions. Like vegetables and fruits, certain herbs need a specific environment in order to grow properly and produce the correct flavor associated with them. So choose wisely.

It can be a daunting task to decide which herbs to grow even after you know what will grow best in your area. Some common beginner herbs are winter savory, rosemary, sage, sweet basil, dill, mint and sweet marjoram, to name a few. Once you’ve tried your hand at some of these herbs, you can move on to others.

When choosing your herbs, it’s important to decide if you want annuals, biennials or perennials. Annuals will need to be replanted each year, while biennials need to be replanted every two years. Perennials don’t need to be replanted at all and will return year after year.

After you’ve read up on herb growing basics, check with your local small business office to find out what licenses and permits are needed in order to run your business. That office will be able to provide you with all applicable information.

Once you have that squared away, decide whether or not you’re going to grow herbs in the summer only or all year long. There are things to consider with each option.

If you plan to grow only during the summer months, you’ll want to have an area cleared outside of your home to grow your herbs in. A traditional kitchen garden is 20’ x 4’. Each herb plot within the garden should be between 12 and 18 inches. If you plan to grow a wide selection of herbs, you’ll want a larger growing area.

You may also want to consider drawing out a diagram beforehand that lists the herbs you want to grow and where they’ll be planted in your garden. Some herbs need to be planted apart from others to prevent cross-germination and other factors.

Others, like parsley and purple basil, make wonderful border herbs, so planning ahead is a good idea. If you choose to plant mint, you’ll want to contain your plants in a number 10 can or a bucket to prevent them from overrunning your other varieties.

If you have limited ground space, you can grow your herbs in planting containers, window boxes, number 10 cans or even hanging baskets. Just be sure to have plenty of soil and composting material on hand for your plants.

If you’re planning on growing herbs year round, you can grow them inside under a heat lamp or on a windowsill where there is access to plenty of light, usually in a south or west-facing window. Indoor plants will require more watering than outdoor plants since they don’t have access to rain, so be sure to water your plants as needed.

If you have access to a greenhouse, that’s another great way to grow herbs all year long. But, again, you’ll need to make sure you keep them hydrated.

Once you’ve grown and harvested your herbs, you need to decide if you’re going to sell them as is or dehydrate them. If you choose to dehydrate them, there are several methods to choose from, including using a dehydrator or the oven. If you decide to dehydrate, you’ll also need a mortar and pestle to grind up the herbs once they dry. You can then store them in canning jars, which can be found at any local home and gardening store, or often on Freecycle.

When it comes to advertising your herbs for sale, there are several options available. You could post flyers at local indoor farmer’s markets, or local grocery stores. Be sure your flyers include your contact information and a list all of the herbs you sell and whether or not they are dried. Also include business cards when possible so potential clients can pass on your information to others who may be interested in purchasing from you.

If you live in a highly populated area that sees a lot of traffic, you could even setup a roadside stand in the same way that you may have set up a lemonade stand when you were younger.

Also, let your friends and family know you have herbs for sale, and ask them to spread the word. People like supporting a teen in business, so once people know what you have to offer, your sales will begin to grow.

Growing herbs does involve work. And it will require you to be diligent and dependable in caring for the plants, but if you follow through with it, you can create a successful business in the herb growing industry and have a lot of fun in the process.

Make Money Selling Items on eBay

January 26, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Make Money Selling Items on eBay 

Making money online can be a challenge, but with your own eBay business, that doesn’t have to be the case! All you need to get started is a decent digital camera, a computer with Internet (high speed is ideal), and items to sell.

Items can include makeup, clothing, electronics, video games, music CDs, books, crafts, collectibles, toys… you name it! People sell just about anything on eBay, and you can, too.

To get started, start looking for items to sell. Ask your parents, friends and family to donate things they no longer want. Check Freecycle to see if anyone will donate items. If you have transportation and storage space, you can even drop by yard sales and let people know you’ll collect their unsold items free. Then you can sort through them, choose what you want, and donate the rest to the Salvation Army.

It will be easier to run your business if you’re organized. Find some sturdy cardboard boxes. Mark each one with a category of items such as clothing, books, etc. Be sure everything is clean before storing. You might want to invest in some zipper bags to store items in to keep them clean, though it’s not mandatory.

Take one to two clear photos of each item with your digital camera and upload them to your computer. Crop if needed or use them as they are. Photobuckets.com is a good place to upload them for free storage if you don’t have room on your hard drive.

Now, you are ready to get started! Go to the eBay website and create an account. After you confirm your registration, login to begin setting up your first auction.

Write auction titles that include keywords for the items you’re selling. For instance, if you’re selling sweaters, you will want to put that in as a keyword. eBay offers a list of category choices. Just choose the most appropriate for each item.

Decide if you plan to sell your items for a fixed price or if you want a standard auction. If you have more than one of the same item, you can set up a “Dutch auction” by listing the total quantity of that item you have to sell. Setting up an eBay auction isn’t difficult. Just read the instructions and follow them as best you can.

Offer as many details about your items as you can, and include any flaws such as a stain or crack. Add at least one picture for each item. Buyers want to see what they’re buying. And the first picture is always free.

Set a reasonable price. And remember that just because an item is name brand, it’s still used. For new items, you can charge a little more, but keep in mind that people are looking for a bargain, and a better price will help your item sell more quickly.

eBay does have fees, but they’re reasonable. When you post the auction, you’ll see how much the fees are. There are small insertion fees and optional fees for adding features such as additional photos, or Buy It Now.

Buy It Now lets you set a price for your items and the buyer doesn’t have to bid, they just click and buy, as if they were in a store.

PayPal is the best way to accept payment through eBay. Set up a PayPal account, if you don’t have one. Or ask your parents to help you with this. You can even decide to donate some of your profits to one of the charities eBay recommends.

Set your policy on returns and refunds and write them out. Then copy and paste that information into every auction you create. Be sure you communicate with the buyer before, during and after bidding. This will encourage more buyers to buy from you.

You’ll get a feedback rating every time you make a sell and customers respond. In order to keep a positive rating, send the item as soon as the money is received and leave good feedback for your buyers if they pay promptly.

Selling on eBay is simple and fun! You can meet a variety of people through email and sell any number of items from the safety and comfort of home. Who knows, once you gain some experience, you might even want to start selling for others and charge them a percentage of profits (50 percent is typical). Being a teen can be a hindrance to owning some types of businesses, but that’s never the case when you’re selling items on eBay.

Start Your Own Gift Basket Business

January 25, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Start Your Own Gift Basket Business 

Starting a gift basket business is a great business venture for teens who want to make some money working from home.

The first step in starting your own business is to contact your local business tax office for information on licensing and permits you may need before you begin. you’ll also need to come up with a name for your business. Think of something catchy that people will remember when they’re looking for a company to fulfill their needs.

Next, broaden your knowledge of the gift basket world by reading books that take you through the process of starting and growing your business. Amazon.com has many books on the subject, including “Start Your Own Gift Basket Business” by Cheryl Kimball and “The Gift Basket Design Book” by Shirley George Baker. Or check your local library for options.

You might also want to take classes on making gift baskets, or attend a business seminar or product demonstration. You’ll want to create attractive designs that look expensive without it costing you too much money.

Decide if you want to focus on specific occasions or holidays, or if you plan to make baskets for any occasion a customer needs, such as birthdays, graduations, births or get well.

When it comes to purchasing supplies for your baskets, a good place to start are discount stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar or Big Lots. All of these stores have great items for a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere–which means a larger profit for you!

Some items you may want to have on hand are colored ribbons, cellophane, baskets or decorative boxes, stuffed animals, small toys, baby supplies, books, candles and bath and body products. If you plan on including food items, prepackaged snack foods like popcorn, pretzels, chips, fudge, trail mix, jerky, cookies and candy are good choices.

Once your business picks up, you may want to consider ordering from wholesale dealers. However, it’s important to remember that there are potential problems that may occur with wholesalers, like switched delivery dates and delayed shipments, so be prepared and try to have some of your most popular items in stock so you aren’t left scrambling to fill a basket order if any problems arise.

When it comes to marketing your business, you can post information on networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. You can also make business cards to hand out to friends and family, and create flyers that can be posted on bulletin boards in schools, libraries, grocery stores, nursing homes, gyms and hospitals.

In addition, you could start your own website and send out monthly email newsletters and even offer discounts or two-for-one specials. If you start a website, post pictures of some of the baskets you’ve made, so potential customers can see the quality and content of your products. Your site should also include a welcome page, an order form, information about your business, contact info, etc.

Another great way to market yourself is through the school system in your area. Many local PTAs and PTOs hold fundraisers throughout the school year or have prize drawings at school-sponsored events. If you donate a basket or two, you can include your contact info so people can contact you if they’d like you to put something together for them.

When you receive a new order, take time to talk to the customer to find out who the basket is going to, what the recipient’s likes and dislikes are and if that person has any allergies so you know what things to avoid.

You should also provide your potential customers with a checklist of items you can include in their baskets, including separate checklists for various holidays and occasions. These checklists will allow your customers to select items that they think would be a great addition to the baskets they order.

A gift basket business does involve some work, but it can be very rewarding and profitable with time and attention. And it can give you an outlet for your creativity by allowing you to design attractive gifts that people are sure to talk about and enjoy!

Earn Extra Money With Yard Sales

January 25, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Earn Extra Money With Yard Sales 

Yard sales are one of the easiest ways to earn some extra money for people of any age. Everyone throws away a lot of items every month that could be saved and sold for a profit. In order to start making money with yard sales, you’ll need to go through all the items you don’t want anymore such as clothes, shoes, jewelry, games, videos, CDs, skin care products and anything else you have on hand. When it comes to this type of business, just about anything can be sold!

Get everything ready to sell. Wash and dry your clothes. Be sure skin care products aren’t expired and are at least half full. Wipe everything off. Spray shoes with an anti-fungal spray and wipe down with alcohol to get rid of any bacteria. Don’t put shoes out for sale that have holes in them or are damaged in other ways.

Get some boxes and categorize your items; for instance, for shirts, fold them and place them all in one box. Mark the boxes, so you’ll know what’s in there when you get ready to hold your sale.

Find a long table where you’ll be placing your items on for display. You don’t want to put your items on the ground. If no tables are available, keep the items in the boxes and put the boxes on chairs. When people look at the items, be sure to put them back in the box. This will require “cleaning up after” your customers a bit.

Once you have everything in boxes and marked, get some poster board and make some signs. Place the flyers on the street poles and in stores around your home. (Always ask the storeowner beforehand.) Make sure that you include your home address and the date and time of the yard sale. Also, include a date and a snow or rain date if you want.

Get up early and price each box with how much you want to sell things for. People are looking for a bargain at yard sales, so, don’t charge high prices, even if the items are name brand. You’re not trying to get rich or even to get the money back you paid for the items. The goal is to earn some money.

Place items outside on your table or on chairs in boxes. Get help from family and friends if you can. Be courteous to everyone who stops bay. Smile and ask if they need help with something. It’s always good to chat with customers.

Keep a moneybag around your waist or a cash box, ideally with a lock. Have a friend or family member that you trust watch it when you can’t. It’s really best for one person watch the money box and someone else watch the items. People do steal things, even at yard sales.

Don’t hold items longer than 10-15 minutes for someone who says they’ll be back later. Don’t even do that if you’re uncomfortable with it. And don’t feel obligated to reduce prices for neighbors or friends who know you. Stick to the prices you’ve set unless you feel you can take less.

Once the sale is over, carry all the items that didn’t sell back inside. If you have enough items, you can hold another sale the next weekend, or in a few weeks.

Yard sales require some work, but they’re fun and can earn money quicker than a lot of other ventures. If you decide it’s something you enjoy, you can start asking friends and family for donations you could sell and really make a good business out of this.

Start Your Own Graphic Design Business

January 22, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Start Your Own Graphic Design Business 

MySpace and YouTube have created a way for anyone to make money designing and selling graphics and logos. Teens thrive in these online worlds, as you probably know, and are always looking for the next best background, logo, or graphic to make their page stand out from the rest.

And, it doesn’t stop there! Up and coming business people are always looking to improve their MySpace or YouTube pages as well. A MySpace or YouTube page is like a personal electronic billboard. It’s a place for people to learn about a person and his or her work. This creates a potentially unlimited number of customers who are willing to pay to have the most creative background, graphics, and logos for their sites.

Paintshop Pro and/or Adobe Photoshop are programs you’ll want to master to be able to run this kind of business. These programs will make designing and selling graphics and logos possible. Chances are any background, logo, and graphics that you’ve seen on the Internet was created in one of these two programs. The cost of the programs may be expensive at first, but with the money you’ll earn, it will easily pay for itself quickly.

If you don’t have knowledge of Photoshop or Paintshop Pro, there are plenty of tutorials online. You might also be able to check out a book at the library or even take a paid course, if you choose. Check with your school to see if they offer a class. It’s important to master the software to make your skills marketable. Having a solid knowledge of these programs will allow you to compete in this competitive market.

Getting customers is often done by word-of-mouth. Create a background, logo, or graphic free for someone who has a large following on MySpace or YouTube with the arrangement that they will refer any inquiries to you.

Another good idea is to create a portfolio to showcase your work. On the Internet, this is simply a website featuring sample graphics you’ve done. Prospective customers can then contact you by way of your website to discuss any work they need and your rates.

There is no special licensing required for this type of business except for a general business license. You don’t even have to get a business license if you’re not making above a certain amount of money. But for any business it is a good idea to obtain a business license to keep it professional.

Payment will most likely be received via PayPal or a similar type of online payment center. PayPal is the most popular and many people already have an account set up. PayPal allows you to accept credit cards without having a merchant account or even needing a bank account. This account is like having your own savings account where the money that you receive from your work is deposited into your account You can spend directly from it by making purchases online or you can request a debit card and make purchases using that.

The place to begin is to determine your budget for the software needed. You may already have the program, or may know a friend who does and will let you use their computer as you learn. You’ll also want plenty of memory and storage space on your computer so your work will go quickly.

Once you’re set up and ready to go, begin looking at the type graphics available. Use your imagination and creativity and start designing. You can sell online to sites that buy graphics, post flyers offering your services, and create your own website where your graphics are available for sale. Whatever you decide, have fun with it. This is a great business for someone who enjoys designing and creating electronic artwork. Does that sound like you?

Start Your Own Errand Service Business

January 21, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Start Your Own Errand Service Business 

Starting an errand service business is a great choice for teens who are looking to make some money. You have a unique set of challenges when you’re looking for work. You may not have a lot of experience, and because of school you only have certain hours that you’re available. But if you’re looking to make some money, why not grab hold of your entrepreneurial spirit and start your own errand business? There are lots of people who need errands run for them, and taking a load off them can earn you a lot of cash!

One of the easiest things about starting an errand business is that you don’t need a lot of capital or equipment to begin. You may need to pay for some small items such as photocopies of your flyers or advertisements, or gas for your car if you have one, but this is pretty much all the money you’ll need.

You won’t need a lot of equipment either. To run errands for other people, all you really have to have is a way to get around. This can be a car, bike, or even your own two feet. You will, of course, be able to make more money depending on how quickly you can do the errands, so a bike or car is ideal.

Other than transportation, the only other thing you really need is to find customers. To do so, you’ll have to advertise your new errand running business. Advertising can be as easy as putting up flyers around your neighborhood. Make sure you include what kind of errands you’ll run on your flyer.

The work involved will require you to be dependable, prompt and honest. Be where you need to be when you say you will, and be sure you’re on time. If you’re charged with handling money for a customer, be sure to keep it separate from any other money you may have, and keep all your receipts so you can give the proper change.

Set a reasonable price for your services based on distance, the difficulty involved and the time it will take you to complete each task. Ideally, as you gain customers, you can group errands together–picking up dry cleaning for two to three customers at the same time, for instance. This will save you time and earn you a greater profit.

Some errands you might want to consider offering are: picking up and delivering groceries, dropping off or picking up dry cleaning or prescriptions, going to the post office, taking pets to the vet, or anything else your customers need throughout the day. Once you start, you’ll get a feel for just how many things people need help with–especially those who work full-time jobs.

So how do you find customers that want you to run their errands for them? Advertise! Think of places where your customers will see your ads. Elderly people might be one of your biggest customer bases because they’re often not able to get around well, and they may currently be relying on family and friends to take them on errands. When targeting advertising towards the elderly, post flyers in retirement homes, senior apartment buildings, community centers, churches, doctor’s offices and bingo halls.

Busy parents are another group you’ll want to reach with your advertising. Parents, especially those with small children, are extremely busy and never have enough time in the day. To target your marketing to this group, place ads for your errand service in and around day cares, preschools, elementary schools, dance studios where young children are taught, parks, recreation centers, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Of course, these are just a few places where your advertising will be effective. It’s important to keep your eyes peeled for places where your prospective customers spend time because they’ll be more likely to see your ad and call you for your services.

Finding the first customer will be the hardest, and you may even ask a parent or relative if you can begin with them. But pretty soon your business will take off and people will begin asking you to run their errands. With dedication, effort and energy, you’ll quickly see just how lucrative this business can be.

Clean up with Your Own Yard Work Business

January 19, 2010 · Filed Under Business Ideas for Teens, Home Based Business Ideas for Moms · Comments Off on Clean up with Your Own Yard Work Business 

Teens can make clean up and make good money doing yard work with the right tools and determination. To get started, you’ll need to get permission from your parents since you’ll be working for strangers. Make sure they know where you’ll be at all times. Keep a cell phone on hand as well, if you have one, for added safety.

Before deciding to do yard work, you’ll have to choose what type of work you want to do, such as raking leaves or mowing grass, or both. Then you’ll need to be sure you have all the tools you need to do the jobs you chose.

If needed, ask your parents for money, or use your allowance to purchase the tools you need. A new lawn mower is expensive, but you can easily find an inexpensive used mower to get you started. You might also be able to ask your parents if they’ll let you borrow their mower until you’re able to purchase a used one of your own.

Purchase a rake and hedge clippers. You might also want a bag to carry them in. You’ll also need gloves and large trash bags. Be sure to keep plenty of bottled water with you at all times so you won’t get dehydrated working out in the heat.

Decide what you’ll charge for your work. Consider how much time it takes for you to mow a yard or rake leaves. You’ll want to make at least minimum wage. You can ask possible customers what they’ve been paying for the services you offer and charge accordingly. Just be sure to charge enough to make a good profit, without charging so much you can’t get any customers!

You might want to ask a friend to help you. For instance, while you’re cutting the grass, your friend could trim the hedges and pick up leaves. Of course, you’ll have to split the money you make. But splitting the work means you can do more jobs in a day, so it may work well for you.

When looking for your first customers, walk around your neighborhood and ask the people you know if they could use your services. Since your neighbors know you well, they might expect a lower price. But explain that this is a business and you have to make money. Most people will understand that.

Advertise your new business by putting a low-cost ad in the paper and posting flyers around town. You can also ask the principal at your school if it’s okay to post flyers there for the teachers to see.

When advertising, make sure you put all your contact information on the flyers and in the ads. Include your name and telephone number, and even an email address if you have one. You might want to use a cell phone to take business calls so you won’t have to keep your home phone tied up.

Keep a notebook of all the people who want to use your services. Note down the name, address, and phone number for each one. You might want to keep two copies so you have a backup, and let your parents know where the second one is so they can find you, if needed. Schedule the number of yards you’ll do each day so you don’t overwork yourself.

Whenever possible, do as many yards as you can early in the day. Be sure to take a break when you need it since this work can be tiring and you can easily get overheated when on sunny days, especially.

And be sure to take some time off! It’s not good for anyone to work everyday. If a customer needs a job done on your day off, let them know you’ll do it as soon as possible, but that you never work on certain days.

Treat your yard work like a business. Act professionally with your customers. Be polite. Be on time and dependable. If you can’t make it, let your customer know as much in advance as you can.

If you enjoy the work, you could turn this into a full-fledged lawn care service before you know it. If not, you can still enjoy the extra money you earn and build a good reputation for yourself. Whatever you do, have fun while earning extra money doing yard work in your spare time.

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